AOC threw NYCHA tenants under the bus. The Movement School is implicated. Now comes the Movement School, claiming they can organise NYCHA.

The failure to introduce a Federal budget resolution requesting $32 billion for NYCHA represents both a lack of moral clarity, and a policy failure.

During her campaign for Congress, and after her election, U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY 14) portrayed herself as the antidote to corporate Democrats, who had gone tone-deaf to the suffering of average people. For decades, New Yorkers had been enduring horrifying Government policies set by neoliberalism and austerity. By running for office with help from the Democratic Socialists of America, U.S. Rep. Ocasio-Cortez invoked her subscription to socialist ideology as a primary qualification for public office. Her campaign win was credited to Justice Democrats, a new political committee. Veterans of her campaign reportedly formed an outreach and get-out-the-vote arm of Justice Democrats, known as Movement School. That outreach arm is now engaged in dishonestly organising public housing tenants after U.S. Rep. Ocasio-Cortez turned down a request in March to sponsor a budget resolution to fully-fund the local public housing authority.

Early in 2019, members of Fight For NYCHA approached U.S. Rep. Ocasio-Cortez’s office with an opportunity for her to show leadership on the need to fully-fund the New York City Housing Authority, or NYCHA, as the local public housing authority is known. Members of Fight For NYCHA had e-mail exchanges and several calls with staff, as well as in-office meeting with staff and with U.S. Rep. Ocasio-Cortez herself. At first, Fight For NYCHA was requesting that U.S. Rep. Ocasio-Cortez sponsor a budget resolution for the 2019-2020 Federal Budget in the full amount of NYCHA’s capital budget deficit, estimated to be $32 billion. Members of Fight For NYCHA described the Government’s divestment and neglect of public housing, and members of Fight For NYCHA noted that, as a result, Mayor Bill de Blasio (D-New York City) was proposing to privatise public housing. Despite the dangerous conditions facing public housing tenants, the office of U.S. Rep. Ocasio-Cortez turned down the funding request. After that request was turned down, members of Fight For NYCHA requested that U.S. Rep. Ocasio-Cortez sponsor a budget resolution for only half the amount, and Fight For NYCHA members said that they would organise NYCHA tenants and request the remainder of the funding from City and State Governments. But that second request was also turned down.

On top of feeling betrayed by AOC, as the U.S. Representative is known, members of Fight For NYCHA sensed that AOC’s own political apparatus was going to take advantage of public housing tenants, who had been left unfunded by the socialist political superstar. The telephone discussions about the funding requests took place with Randy Abreu, an AOC Congressional staffer, who was a co-founder of Movement School. What members of Fight For NYCHA found troubling was that, on two occasions, Abreu said that, in the wake of U.S. Rep. Ocasio-Cortez turning down the funding requests, Movement School would organise NYCHA public housing tenants. After AOC consulted with her staff on the budget resolution request, and after they made a decision to turn down the budget resolution request, Movement School was going to use the decision of their own making (the refusal to sponsor a budget resolution to fully-fund NYCHA) as a pretext to do outreach and recruiting for Justice Democrats.

Does Movement School have to lie to NYCHA tenants before Movement School can gain their trust ?

U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY 14) has turned her back on NYCHA.

Before negotiations began with the co-founder of Movement School, AOC’s senior counsel, Dan Riffle, announced that U.S. Rep. Ocasio-Cortez was co-sponsoring emergency funding for NYCHA that never materialised. Riffle next promised that U.S. Rep. Ocasio-Cortez’s office would never support any plan that would “privatize NYCHA.” Since AOC would later refuse to denounce the mayor’s privatisation plan for NYCHA, she would betray her promise to oppose any privatisation of NYCHA.

These discussions took place in March. One month later, Mayor de Blasio announced a plan that would include the first-of-its-kind demolition of public housing and the scaling up of the use of a controversial programme known as Rental Assistance Demonstration, or RAD. Under RAD, the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development approves the transfer of management of public housing developments to private landlords. As Fight For NYCHA has argued, RAD leads to rent hikes, increased allegations of tenant harassment and discrimination, and higher eviction rates. With 90 per cent. of NYCHA tenants being people of colour, these changes to public housing policies would disproportionately affect people based on race. Under the disparate-impact rule of the Fair Housing Act, any housing policy that leads to a disparate-impact based on race is discriminatory and, as a consequence, unlawful. Despite this unlawfulness, nobody with Movement School, not even Abreu, who was a co-founder, saw anything wrong with the decision by U.S. Rep. Ocasio-Cortez’s office to refuse to sponsor a budget resolution for NYCHA funding, because their decision to keep NYCHA defunded left a fiscal vacuum seized by Mayor de Blasio as the reason to demolish and privatise public housing.

Months after declining to sponsor a NYCHA budget resolution in Congress, AOC refuses to denounce RAD.

Five months after public housing funding discussions broke down between Fight For NYCHA and U.S. Rep. Ocasio-Cortez’s office, AOC spearheaded a Bronx townhall dedicated to NYCHA. AOC’s staff went through the motions of inviting Fight For NYCHA members, but members would only be tolerated as guests, and would not be given any dedicated speaking time. Under such conditions, members of Fight For NYCHA refused to attend, fearing that attendance would only be used to validate unknown policy positions.

True to those concerns, U.S. Rep. Ocasio-Cortez refused to address at her NYCHA townhall whether she supported Mayor de Blasio’s embrace of RAD to privatize NYCHA public housing, according to a tweet posted by a reporter for the New York Times.

U.S. Rep. Ocasio-Cortez’s refusal to denounce RAD was seen by many as an abdication of leadership, at best, or complicity with the privatisation of NYCHA public housing, at worst.

AOC’s refusal to provide crucial, early support to the idea that NYCHA needed to be fully-funded represented a betrayal of her socialist ideology. Because NYCHA public housing is social housing, U.S. Rep. Ocasio-Cortez’s refusal to support the full-funding of social housing meant that the private sector would begin to transform both the rent paid by public housing tenants and the value of strategic public assets into sources of profit for certain participants of the real estate industry. It is not known if that was the transformation AOC sought to bring about whilst in office.

AOC and Movement School turn blind eyes to repeated press reports, alleging corruption of Mayor de Blasio’s housing policies, including the disposition of public housing assets.

Relentless press reports make showings that Mayor de Blasio’s housing policies have been allegedly encumbered by conflicts of interest, appearances of pay-to-play corruption, and favours to campaign donors. In response, U.S. Rep. Ocasio-Cortez and Movement School have remained mum. Their silence in the face of questionable changes in City housing policy and the possible disposition of public housing assets casts doubt on their judgment and intentions, particularly in respect of NYCHA’s future.

NYCHA tenants are living in uninhabitable conditions — with lead paint that is poisoning, and impeding the development of, children ; toxic mold and mildew ; broken elevators ; heat and hot water outages ; and other building or code violations — and the only solution is the provision of full-funding to make the capital repairs to public housing to restore humane living conditions to NYCHA tenants.

What is true that U.S. Rep. Ocasio-Cortez’s campaign overlapped with Movement School, and that one of her policy advisors in New York was a co-founder of Movement School, and that policy advisor relayed the decision not to support a budget resolution seeking to fully-fund NYCHA this Fiscal Year before announcing that Movement School would, in that vacuum, organise public housing tenants. It is clear that, in dealing with AOC, one is facing an intertwined campaign-Congressional office-outreach arm of Justice Democrats apparatus. How can NYCHA tenants trust this apparatus to organise public housing tenants in New York when, in their judgement, there was nothing wrong in throwing NYCHA tenants under the bus ?

When Movement School recruits NYCHA tenants as outreach for Justice Democratis, it is not known if Movement School admits to the truth about how it was involved in AOC’s decision to turn down the funding request for NYCHA, or if Movement School has to lie about its role.

Press Conference and Protest of NYCHA Working Group at PS 33

The NYCHA Working Group is corrupt !

Please join us for a press conference and protest outside the next NYCHA Working Group.

Mayor de Blasio has empaneled a rigged and stacked NYCHA working group to determine the future of Fulton, Chelsea, and Elliott Houses. But this working group has purposely excluded tenants from Holmes Towers, Cooper Park, Wyckoff Gardens, LGA Houses, and Harborview — even though infill has been planned at those developments.

Date : Tues., 29-Oct-2019
Time : 5:30 pm
Place : PS 33, 281 9th Ave., Manhattan
RSVP : Press Conference and Protest of NYCHA Working Group [Facebook]

What is more, Fight For NYCHA has discovered that Mayor de Blasio has instituted a gag rule, meaning that the discussions of the NYCHA working group will be kept secret. This is a violation of Government transparency. It also violates the First Amendment rights of tenants to be able to speak in informed discussions about their own future. The gag rule and the restrictions in attendance also violate the State’s open meetings law.

Fight For NYCHA raised the issue of legality to these proceedings at first working group, since any disposition of City real property must be subject to the ULURP process.

Please join Fight For NYCHA in demanding to attend and be heard at the second meeting of the NYCHA working group.

First meeting of NYCHA Working Group reveals lies, betrayals, and Electeds and police conspire to keep secret proceedings that will determine the future of public housing in New York City

Bill de Blasio’s NYCHA Working Group is a sham !

AFTER THE SUCCESSFUL FIGHT FOR NYCHA TOWN HALL, Mayor Bill de Blasio (D-New York City) reportedly freaked out. Two news articles planted in POLITICO New York reported that U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY 10) opposed the demolition of public housing and was calling for a delay on the Request for Proposal for demolition and RAD conversion of Fulton Houses in Cheslea. One report, in particular, had noted that, in his desperation, U.S. Rep. Nadler had allegedly called on Comptroller Scott Stringer (D-New York City) and Public Advocate Jumaane Williams (D-New York City) to show up to community meetings about the future of public housing. The move to include Stringer and Williams was seen as a political threat to New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson (D-Chelsea), in whose Council district the four public housing developments are located, which face some degree of privatisation.

But at the first meeting of the working group empaneled by Mayor de Blasio and other Electeds, tasked with determining the future of the New York City Housing Authority, or NYCHA, Deputy Mayor Vicki Been revealed that demolition remained on the table, despite private assurances allegedly made by U.S. Rep. Nadler and others following the Fight For NYCHA town hall.

Vicki Been presentation for Demolition, Infill, RAD, MIH, and Air Rights Sale at NYCHA Working Group

In order to get video of Deputy Mayor Vicki Been’s presentation about NYCHA’s future, a member of Fight For NYCHA had to risk arrest.

A member of Fight For NYCHA had to risk arrest in order to crash the secret first meeting of the NYCHA Working Group. Please advance to 2:00 to hear audio (and video later) of NYPD Inspector Howard Redmond and, later, other NYPD officers, threaten the Fight For NYCHA member with arrest for demanding to bear witness to the NYCHA Working Group meeting.

NYPD threaten Fight For NYCHA member with arrest at Bill de Blasio’s NYCHA Working Group

Did Robert Atterbury violate New York’s open meetings law ?

Before police showed up to menace the Fight For NYCHA member, U.S. Rep. Nadler’s aide, Robert Atterbury, made deceptive statements by materially misrepresenting the proceedings of the NYCHA Working Group as a secret meeting that was closed to the public. In New York State, Government meetings are open meetings. Yet, Mr. Atterbury repeatedly indicated that a meeting that would discuss the disposition of NYCHA public assets and City real property was not a public meeting and that, improbably, the NYCHA Working Group was not a “civic group.” Under New York State penal code, obstructing Government administration is a class A misdemeanor in the second degree. See § 195.05.

Fight For NYCHA calls on U.S. Rep. Jerry Nadler to fire his aide, Robert Atterbury, for violating democracy, transparency.

Please join us for a press conference and protest outside the next NYCHA Working Group.

Mayor de Blasio has empaneled a rigged and stacked NYCHA Working Group to determine the future of Fulton, Chelsea, and Elliott Houses. But this working group has purposely excluded tenants from Holmes Towers, Cooper Park, Wyckoff Gardens, LGA Houses, and Harborview — even though infill has been planned at those developments.

Date : Tues., 29-Oct-2019
Time : 5:30 pm
Place : PS 33, 281 9th Ave., Manhattan
RSVP : Press Conference and Protest of NYCHA Working Group [Facebook]

What is more, Fight For NYCHA has discovered that Mayor de Blasio has instituted a gag rule, meaning that the discussions of the NYCHA Working Group will be kept secret. This is a violation of Government transparency. It also violates the First Amendment rights of tenants to be able to speak in informed discussions about their own future. The gag rule and the restrictions in attendance also violate the State’s open meetings law.

Fight For NYCHA raised the issue of legality to these proceedings at first working group, since any disposition of City real property must be subject to the ULURP process.

Please join Fight For NYCHA in demanding to attend and be heard at the second meeting of the NYCHA Working Group.

Union Square Rally to build public support for a People’s Budget approach to fully-fund NYCHA

This is a City-wide rally to demonstrate support for a grassroots approach to fully-funding the New York City Hosing Authority, or NYCHA. Fight For NYCHA consulted with tenants and passed the People’s Budget for Housing, Justice, and Dignity during a Town Hall meeting at P.S. 33 in Chelsea on Sept. 18. The People’s Budget demonstrates that funding for public housing is reasonable, within reach, and some of these ideas are legislation-ready.

DATE : Sunday, Oct 6, 2019
TIME : 1 pm
PLACE : Union Square Park, Manhattan
RSVP : Stop the War on the Poor [Facebook]

The immediate emergency is to take $10 billion that Mayor Bill de Blasio wants to use to build new jails and, instead, to redirect that money to public housing.

To save and improve NYCHA, please come to our Town Hall on Wed. night at PS 33 at 6 pm

Town Hall to Fully-Fund NYCHA

The Problem : NYCHA Needs $$$

The Solution : The People’s Budget

Date : Wed., 18 Sept 2019
Time : 6 – 8:30 pm
Place : PS 33, 281 9th Ave., Manhattan (btwn 26th. and 27th Streets)
RSVP : Town Hall to Fully-Fund NYCHA [Facebook]

Please review the draft People’s Budget, because we will be reviewing this at the Town Hall.

Join us for a conversation on the problem and solution facing NYCHA.

Please don’t forget to R.S.V.P.

Date : Wed., 18 Sept 2019
Time : 6 – 8:30 pm
Place : PS 33, 281 9th Ave., Manhattan (btwn 26th. and 27th Streets)
RSVP : Town Hall to Fully-Fund NYCHA [Facebook]

Fulton Houses tenants elect independent officers, announce next meeting, plan next action

Fight For NYCHA co-hosts an important meeting to offer autonomy and structure to Fulton Houses residents.

At an action-planning meeting held on Saturday, 11 May, tenants of Fulton Houses made several agreements that would serve as a foundation for advocacy work to save public housing in Chelsea from being demolished and from being put into the hands of private landlords.

  • Since NYCHA is comprised of 90% Black and Latinx families, this means that the politicians, who are supporting each of the demolition of buildings at Fulton Houses and the putting of public housing into the hands of private developers, are making a political calculation that they can exploit the very visible minorities, who are public housing tenants.
  • Politicians supporting the plans announced by Mayor Bill de Blasio (D-New York City) to demolish public housing apartment buildings and to put public housing into the hands of private landlords, are keeping quiet about the racial implications of their actions or support.
  • We must stand united in saying that what Mayor de Blasio and his supporters are doing is wrong.
  • Unless elected officials join us in this fight, we must be prepared to challenge those elected officials.
  • The processes we undertake together must have integrity, and this means that Fulton Houses tenants must agree. This also means that we cannot allow anybody to disrupt or distract or bring outside politics into the fight to save Fulton Houses or NYCHA. Fulton Houses tenants agreed that if anybody tried to derail our agenda, they would support asking that person to leave.
  • It was important to make clear that for any new, independent tenants’ associations elections that may take place for the Fulton Houses, only Fulton Houses tenants may vote.
  • Any groups wishing to show up to our events must :
    • oppose each of the demolition of apartment buildings and the RAD conversion of Fulton Houses ;
    • call-out Mayor de Blasio and his supporters ; and
    • oppose the racism of RAD and the divestment of public housing.

Civil rights attorney Norman Siegel spoke to Fulton Houses tenants about the importance of “keeping public housing public.”

Mary, left, and Jackie were elected as president and vice-president of an independent tenants association.

Amelia was elected as secretary of an independent tenants association of Fulton Houses.

Next steps

Fight For NYCHA will hold a follow-up meeting on Saturday, 18 May, at 3 pm at the same location. Tenants and activists have agreed on the first action, the plans for which will be finalised on the date of our next meeting.

Fulton Houses tenants hold protest to stop demolition, RAD conversion

We Must Save NYCHA !

Fulton Houses Tenant President Miguel Acevedo couldn’t keep his 37 shift stories straight about the demolition and RAD conversion of Fulton Houses

Fulton Housing tenants are receiving scary letters from elected officials at the same time NYCHA is offering them buy-outs to leave their apartments.

A group of corporate Democrats, ranging from U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY 10), Borough President Gale Brewer (D-Manhattan), New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson (D-Chelsea), New York State Sen. Brad Hoylman (D-Chelsea), and New York Assemblymember Richard Gottfried (D-Chelsea), co-signed a letter to New York City Housing Authority Interim Chair and CEO Kathryn Garcia, asking that NYCHA consult with Fulton Houses tenants about plans announced by Mayor Bill de Blasio (D-New York City) to demolish two apartment buildings and to put up majority market-rate luxury apartment buildings on the site of Fulton Houses.

Activists have warned Fulton Houses tenants that the consultation is a trap, since none of the public officials have neither publicly opposed the demolition of public housing buildings, nor publicly opposed the RAD conversion of public housing. Under RAD, public housing is put into the hands of private landlords, thereby turning public housing into a for-profit business. A consultation without opposition to the Mayor de Blasio’s plan would count toward the approval of Mayor de Blasio’s plan.

Following the protest, Fulton Houses Tenant President Miguel Acevedo was confronted about his refusal to forcefully oppose the demolition and RAD conversion of Fulton Houses. He changed his story at least 37 different times, according to a video of one part of the exchange.

Fulton Houses rally to stop demolition and RAD conversion

NYCHA Residents Fight Eviction Plan

Norman Siegel, famous civil rights attorney, counseled public housing tenants on their rights

Public housing tenants received valuable legal advice about strategy from Norman Siegel, a civil rights attorney and the former Executive Director of the New York Civil Liberties Union.

Video is courtesy of Mike McCabe of OccupyRadio.net on YouTube.

Press Conference to stop RAD conversion of Fulton Houses

#A28 Fight For NYCHA Press Conference

Join us for a press conference to speak out against the private landlord take-over of the Fulton Houses.

DATE : Sunday, April 28, 2019

TIME : 1:30 pm

PLACE : Fulton Houses, 119 9th Ave, Manhattan

RSVP : Press Conference against RAD Conversion of NYCHA [Facebook]

If you received a call from us, here is the WNYC report we promised to make available to you. Please listen carefully :

NYCHA Hires Private ‘Slumlord’ to Run Public Housing

RAD is a bad deal for NYCHA tenants

City-wide, Mayor Bill de Blasio (D-New York City) has announced plans to convert 62,000 NYCHA apartments, allowing private landlords to control public housing. But the RAD program he wants to use can increase the rent, lead to tenant harassment and exploitation, the possibility of rescreeing, and, possibly, evictions.

In particular, we question how Mayor de Blasio can be disposing real property in the Fulton Houses when Borough President Gale Brewer (D-Manhattan) has sued to stop the lease/sale/development at the Holmes Towers in the Upper East Side. How can Mayor de Blasio be doing this in Chelsea when there is a pending Court case about the lease/sale/development of NYCHA ?

If NYCHA tenants are evicted, or lose their lease due to rescreenings, they will have no place to go. Housing Court evictions effectively bar tenants from renting from private sector landlords. Since New York City severely lacks low-cost housing, it is conceivable that NYCHA tenants may face homelessness due to the RAD conversion of public housing.

RSVP : Press Conference against RAD Conversion of NYCHA [Facebook]

Fight For NYCHA, Community Control of Land Use New York, and Not One More Block are co-sponsoring this press conference.